Spotlight #7 — Mimi Leung

 Photo by James H H Morgan

Photo by James H H Morgan


It's hard to ignore the striking work of Mimi Leung. Her use of bold colour and frantic lines grab you by the collar and bring you eye-to-eye with her manic characters.

Whether it be blasted onto the side of Melbourne's Art Tram or wrapped around your Slurpee cup, there's a chance you've been met with some of Mimi's work. Born in Hong Kong and growing up in England, Mimi studied graphic design at Central St. Martins and later went on to complete an MA in Communication Art and Design at the Royal College of Art in 2007. She has a wealth of credible work to her name, flaunting clients such as Transport For London, Samsung, AFLW and The New York Times. Mimi's work straddles the line between celebratory and chaotic; indulging us with absurd creatures that dance across her chosen canvas, exploding into a million colours and directions. In a way, they speak of Mimi's conflicted sense of identity, which is explored in her new body of work, 過眼雲煙 / Some kind of self.

See a preview of Mimi's work below.


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過眼雲煙 / Some kind of self

Libertine Florist, Chancery Lane, Bendigo
6pm—12am, Wed 29—Fri 31 August

 

"Inspired by the rich Chinese history of Bendigo (particularly the Easter Parade, the lives of the miners, the Kwun Yum Temple and Joss House) this work is a reflection on the experience of my own Chinese/Asian identity. Considering specifically the Asian-Australian identity, effects of assimilation, internalised (and external) racism and racial stereotypes, and more generally the fleeting, transient nature of self. Expressing a self that is in constant flux between performance, perception, experience and, perhaps, some kind of truth."

 
 


Identity, a fleeting thing.
Hinged on a name rejected, disallowed.
A language too foreign.

Connection to cultural, familial, history.
A performance of (stereo)types.
Allowed. Permitted. 
Centuries of history, stories, people, lives.
In-grained knowledge, way of life. 
Assimilated, adopted.
Resultant: dim sim, dim sum, yum cha, dragons.
Yellow faces, pink hearts.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Jacky Chan. 
Allowed. Permitted.

Fractured self, fleeting self.
Pulled to the past.
Ever semi-present.
Dispersed by a breath, a syllable. 

And you flow from one to the next.
Flip and turn, disintegrate.
Integrate. Assimilate.
A spinning dollar.
Push and pull.
I push, you pull.
A part, 
And apart.

Identity, a fleeting thing.
A performance of (stereo)types.
A spinning sphere
With a point
At the centre.


 
 

"I don’t remember being particularly affected by how China and ‘the Chinese’ were often painted as some kind of ominous terror by the media. It all felt quite distant. But here, there seems to be a bit of Chinese history everywhere I go – not just in Chinatown or in the big cities but even, especially, out in the sticks."

 
 

 Photo by Leonie Van Eyk

Photo by Leonie Van Eyk

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ling-in-tree.jpg

 
 

"At the end of last year, just as I was submitting my proposal for this project, I experienced a confronting racist incident with my neighbour which shocked, confused, scared and still affects me. It felt like a sign that this work I wanted to make was going in the right direction."

 
 

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This artwork will also part of White Night Bendigo  

"I will also be live projecting this video as I perform my own parade of sorts in homage to them, walking from the Golden Dragon Museum up to the Town Hall and back down to Libertine. People are invited to join me on this short walk on Wed 29 August at 9pm and 9.15pm (meeting at Golden Dragon Museum)."

This work was commissioned by Enlighten Bendigo, a projection festival developed by City of Greater Bendigo as part of the Regional Centre for Culture 2018. And I had some amazing support from Multicultural Arts Victoria to do this too.

More info will be live on this page from Mon 13th August

 
 

Find out more
@mimileungyeh
mimileung.co.uk

Images provided by Mimi Leung
Curated by Mike Eleven


Michael Souvanthalisith